UK: Media And Creative Sector Debates Future Opportunities

Last Updated: 26 November 2013
Article by Smith & Williamson

Bristol film-makers, animators, digital marketers and graphic designers were among the guests who gathered at Yurt Lush on Creative Common for a lively panel discussion led by some of the most recognised names in the industry, followed by networking.

The event, which was organised by the Bristol office of accountancy and investment management group, Smith & Williamson, featured a panel discussion exploring emerging opportunities for the sector.

Here, CEO of Bristol Media and creative marketing agency saintnicks, Fraser Bradshaw, who chaired the panel discussion, provides an overview:

"It's great to see the south west creative and media sector developing.  We now have more than 500 businesses and 4,000 individuals engaged in the south west creative sector through Bristol Media membership and this is continuing to grow.

"The success of Bristol Media during the last eight years, in bringing together the creative industries in the region, has shown that co-operative ventures and a collective, determination to grow talent, capability and reach by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus really works.   Over 20,400 people are employed in the creative and media sector in the region and there is a huge diversity of talent from animation and film, post-production, digital and media businesses.  Second offices have been opened by several London agencies showing the strength and appeal of the region.

"Paul Appleby, Chair of Bristol Media and the Creative Sector Group of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was able to evidence the government's clear support for the region, confirming that 'Government-supported funding will flow to industry through the LEPs and our collaboration with Creative Skillset has produced a Skills Hub that will improve the fit between industry needs and the output of the colleges and universities. We're now "at scale" and looking to grow the industry creating brilliant content and services.'

"Bristol is a great collaborative city and that appeared evident from the debate. There has been clear crossover and collaboration amongst film, digital, social, PR and creative companies, creating a new generation of agencies and a host of new platform technology businesses within the region. Bristol and Bath are two of the nine top UK creative centres and the combination of creativity and technology in the region provides us with a fabulous foundation for growth.

"Dave Sproxton, founder of Aardman Animations was able to reflect on the changing scene in the south west since the company moved to Bristol in 1976, recognising its diversity and the awards that south west businesses are now gaining. Aardman has a deserved reputation as a world leader in model animation. Their award-winning work leads the field producing a unique brand of independent film alongside work for broadcast and advertising spots. The studio has had ten Oscar® nominations and won four.

"Laura Marshall, Managing Director at Icon Films has been making films for over 20 years and is collaborating with talent in both the south west and internationally, creating a broad range of factual content in film and receiving international acclaim.  'Collaboration seems to be a real strength in the region.  The ability for businesses to develop a network of expert support has kept us all competitive and grown the creative talent in the region.'

"Local digital entrepreneur Chris Thurling is Co-chair of the Digital Business Group for the IPA (governing body for UK ad agencies). Chris has a clear national and local perspective on the future of digital and innovation in business and believes that Bristol and the south west will continue to differentiate themselves based on the integration of data, digital and creative content.  'The region has a strong proportion of data and digital businesses, in part from the volume of financial services providers and professional services businesses in the region, and in part from the early adoption and leadership of digital in the city from creative agencies.  This makes a winning combination for growth.'

"Bristol seems to have bucked the trend through the recession (GVA per capita has been higher than the industry mean) with businesses moving into its creative quarters such as Paintworks, Watershed, Temple Studios and with the continued development of the new Enterprise Zone, the signs for growth certainly seem strong.  We're hoping to hear a lot more from the sector in the near future."

By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of writing.

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